Join us for a tribute to the Rent Party, a site of music and dance experience for the black urban migrant of the early 1900s. The Rent Party was an opportunity for confident, joyful self-expression and freedom from codes that regulated racial and sexual conduct, freedom from the ideals of uplift, sobriety, and propriety. It was a moment and a space for staking vernacular pleasure. It was an unapologetic place for Black creative expression.

This evening will begin with a presentation by Professor Shana Redmond of Columbia University on the philosophical and symbolic significance of the Rent Party followed by a music and dance performance that pays homage to the dynamic Rent Party dance music tradition. Peabody Jazz Studies faculty members Nasar Abadey (percussion) and Richard Johnson (piano) will play an improvisational jam session showcasing the evolution of Black musical history. Baltimore house music dancers will respond to the music live, artfully demonstrating their distinctive stylistic movement. A catered wine reception will immediately follow the program.

This free program commemorates the life of Donald V. Bentley and is presented by the JHU Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts in partnership with the Baltimore Museum of Art. Registration is encouraged. 

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Add to Calendar 20240418 America/New_York 10 Art Museum Drive Baltimore MD 21218 “Rent Party”: African American Urban Dance Music from Ragtime to House